By Paul Birdwell (firstname.lastname@example.org)
There is a great new sponsorship website on the Internet that has been producing some terrific content in the last several months:
The Sponsorship Space – www.sponsorshipspace.com
Two posts in particular by The Sponsorship Space in January 2017 caught our attention at the Roaring Fork Agency, and we thought we would pass along some of their great information.
The Sponsorship Space had 30 Sponsorship Executives give their best advice heading into 2017 and below are a few of those posts:
“Sponsorship has evolved into a sophisticated marketing technique that goes much beyond promoting awareness and association of an event to a brand. Sponsors now know that the most authentic way in which they reach their targets is to provide and support an exceptional experience that the target will have with the event and their interaction with the sponsored product. Whether it is a team, a sport, an event, a cultural undertaking, the most powerful way in which a sponsor truly connects to a customer is to show that customer how their brand has added to the value of the experience. This can be through enhancing a live event, through digital or socially connecting with a customer as they experience the event through broadcast or even after the event where the sponsor allows the customer the opportunity to re-experience powerful moments of the event.
These areas of brand affinity are harder to measure and a future conversion is a harder connection to make to bottom line profits so going forward marketers and sponsored experiences will need to work well with research, data analytics, and people to see the fully realized value of a sponsorship over a longer arc of time.
Katherine Henderson (CEO, Curling Canada)”
“The days of a Sponsor only looking for a signage asset in left field, on the stadium scoreboard, or on the rink boards, are few and far between. Marketing executives are being challenged more and more by their company executives to prove the ROI and ROO of company sponsorship spending. Companies want tangible results, as budgets are further scrutinized each year.
Heading into 2017, sponsorship salespeople (clubs, leagues, venues, events) are being challenged more than ever. Sponsor companies are looking to take partnerships further, to integrate products or services into agreements and to customize property content so that brands feel immersed in the relationship. When all is said and done, the mark of a successful partnership in the eyes of the sponsor, is whether consumers can fully understand what the sponsor company offers in terms or its products and/or service offering. If a consumer cannot answer that question, the effectiveness of the sponsorship should be evaluated.
Today’s sponsorship equation is about finding a balanced win-win-win between 1) The Sponsor Company, 2) The Partner Organization and 3) The Consumer.
Andrew Agro (Director, Corporate Sponsorship & Business Development, New York Jets)”
“The trend in the sponsorship industry the last few years has been the move toward data-driven decision making and measurement, which really is an extension of the same shift seen in brand marketing as a whole. Brands are becoming more analytical, boutique specialist agencies have sprouted to support the need to prove effectiveness, and the smart properties have become proactive in providing sponsor-specific success metrics. Most players are now working with the same sets of data and the playing field is more level than it has ever been before.
Moving forward, I believe you’re going to see brands getting more and more creative in how they sponsor. With it becoming easier for every sponsor to see the value of each dollar spent on traditional assets – signage, classic media, etc – decisions on these will be made as functions of math equations more than anything else. Conversely, for more content-focused and deeper funnel sponsorship activation, brands will look for new avenues of engagement. Certainly in the form of new property types; E-gaming and other non-traditional entertainment properties are already being gobbled up by the big brands. But for these and traditional sports / entertainment properties, brands will seek more and more assets that can’t be found on a rate card. Creative social extensions, increased property-owned asset inclusion to better leverage built-in fan base, sponsorable streaming content – anything that can be presented organically and with an already-engaged audience. Valuable to sponsors, sure, but even more valuable to properties as the cost to incorporate sponsors in this capacity is often minimal.
Dan Frystak (Senior Manager, Brand & Sponsorship, CDW)”
“In the past too many sponsorships have been based on 'Chairman's Whim' or the 'Highest Paid Person's Opinion' (HiPPO), with whoever leads sponsorship for the brand having to retrofit that to their marketing strategy. In my view, for the majority (but not all), sponsorship is way behind marketing in terms of strategic approach and so in 2017 I hope we see:
- more education in sponsorship
- sponsorship being managed by marketing professionals and as part of the marketing strategy
- brands selecting, planning, activating and measuring with the same scrutiny as they would with any other element of the promotional mix
- rights owners offering genuine partnerships with brands, not just the same package as before now labeled as a 'partnership'
- rights owners taking a fresh view on what assets they can offer and build together with their partners
- better use of customer insight data
- better experiences for the end audience and not just through technology
- and measurement that goes beyond media equivalent value and social media likes.
I'm leading the European Sponsorship Association's working group to write a best practice guide to sponsorship measurement - so watch this space! Whilst none of these are revolutionary, I see 2017 being the year that sponsorship catches up to show what a powerful platform it can be.
Sophie Morris (Strategic Marketing & Sponsorship Director, Millharbour Marketing; Chartered Marketer; Board Director of the European Sponsorship Association)”
One of the things that is mentioned by almost all of the 30 Sponsorship Executives in the above article, and something that we are seeing from the companies we pitch event sponsorships to is the demand that sponsorship achieve specific goals just as digital advertising campaigns do in the marketplace.
With that idea that sponsorship effectiveness is something that must be measured so that the sponsoring company can know to the greatest extent possible that it is getting its “Bang for their Sponsorship Buck” another article by The Sponsorship Space is appropriate in this spot:
There is a lot of great information about properly valuing sponsorships opportunities in this article, but one section in particular caught our attention because it goes to heart of what companies are looking for from sponsorships:
Identify Your Audience Segments and Some Sponsorship Survey Questions to Get Started
“You have your properties and now you have your assets…but you can’t do a sponsorship valuation until you understand your audience.
Here are some examples of audience segments that don’t work and are very low value:
All of Canada, the US or North America
“Everyone should care about what we do” so they do (this is the first point in disguise)
The “general public”
Women aged 30-50
People who enjoy XYZ activity
People who care about XYZ activity
Middle-class people, upper-class people
If this is your audience then you can still do a valuation…you just need 10 million of these types of people to generate any money and even then, sponsors want way more than this. Why are these audience segments useless? Because they tell a sponsor nothing about whether or not you have their customer base and makes measuring sponsorship effectiveness impossible for your sponsor. The less you know about your audience, the less likely a sponsor is to trust that you can deliver on your promises to get your audience to take a specific action.
Here are some examples of good audience segments:
40 year old, high net worth moms, who live in suburban Chicago, with 2 or more kids who play baseball
55 year old, partner track, corporate lawyers, who are responsible for bringing in new business and making purchasing decisions for their law firm
University of X grads, who studied X program, who in 5 years tend to work on Bay St in Toronto, making X salary, who buy houses in York Region and commute 2 hours daily (let me tell you how much I DON’T miss that time of my life, by the way)
Newly minted tradespeople who are trying to buy a house, work in X trade, need professional insurance, plan to spend $5000 on new tools
What do these audience segments have in common? You can instantly see what they are likely to purchase, their needs, responsibilities etc. and it make build a sponsorship valuation formula much much easier. But you’re not done yet! Once you know your audience segments, you need to know their preferred brands and what purchases they intend to make.
You are looking for answers to the following questions which you can ask in your next sponsorship survey:
Who do you bank with? Would you consider a change in the next two years?
Do you have a mortgage? How much?
When do you plan to buy a house or move?
Do you have life insurance, retirement savings? With who? Do you plan to change?
What is your household income?
What is your preferred brand of car? Do you lease or won? When do you plan to buy a new car?
What is your level of education?
What industry do you work in? How many years? What is your level of responsibility? Do you control a budget? What size?
How many staff report to you?
How would you rate brands XYZ (try this one before and after your campaign to see if your campaign worked)
This is not an exhaustive list by any means!
Now picture yourself sitting down in front of a major bank, telling them you have 40-year old, high net worth moms, who live in suburban Chicago, with two or more kids who play baseball. You know they bank with your prospect’s competitors and you know they want to change banks. You also know they plan to save for their kids’ school, retirement and a new house when the third child comes along.
If you share this data with a prospect and they will leap across the table throwing money at you! You tell that same prospect that you have “the general public” and could put their logo on your website and they will say the words you never want to hear:
“Oh, just send me a proposal” (Code for “no thanks!”)”
The above is some great advice on really drilling down and identifying the people that will be attending and involved in the event you are pitching to a company, mainly because the one thing that companies considering sponsorship opportunities are most interested in is what group of people will see this sponsorship and are those people that will do business with your company in the future? If the person pitching the sponsorship cannot identify who the sponsoring company will be reaching by taking on a sponsorship opportunity then one is going to have a very hard time getting to “Yes’ and that is what pitching a sponsorship is all about….isn’t it?
The Sponsorship Space – www.sponsorshipspace.com
If you have any questions about event sponsorship or venue naming rights contact the Roaring Fork Agency at:
San Francisco, California – 415 730 – 4854
Seattle, Washington – 206 920 – 3934
Bend, Oregon – 541 640 – 2221
Twitter - @RoaringForkAgcy